World Premiere: Monday 18th Nov' 2002
- Royal Albert Hall, London.
UK Release: Wednesday 20th Nov' 2002.
US Release: Friday 22nd Nov' 2002.
Pierce Brosnan returns in his 4th and final adventure as the legendary super spy in the 20th EON production to celebrate 40 years of the James Bond series.
The movie opens with James surfing into North Korea with two pals and hi-jacking a helicopter on it's way to meet Colonel Moon. After posing as an arms trader, he is found out by some handy technology by Moon's henchman, Zao ( Rick Yune ). After a diamond studded explosion, Bond escapes and a spectacular high-speed hovercraft chase/fight follows through a minefield in the demilitarised zone separating North and South Korea. Having disposed of Moon, his father locks up 007 to face some tortuous months in jail.
This is cleverly incorporated into the opening titles as our James takes a beating and has time to grow a beard and hair ( reminding one of an earlier Brosnan's Crusoe role ). Despite her critics, singer Madonna's theme song works well with the scenes while Arnold provides his usual exciting score.
From Hong Kong to Cuba to London, Bond circles the world in his quest to unmask a traitor and prevent a war of catastrophic proportions. On his way he crosses paths with another female agent like TND's Wai Lin, shapely Jinx ( Oscar ® winner Halle Berry ) and Miranda Frost ( played by newcomer Rosamund Pike ) working undercover for MI6. He must defeat a deadly and younger megalomaniac Gustav Graves ( Toby Stephens ) and his now hair-less right-hand man.
When sent to Iceland by M ( played at ease by Judi Dench ), Bond travels in his new Aston Martin Vanquish called The Vanish by the new Q ( John Cleese ). At the villain's lair, an ice palace, he experiences firsthand the power of a new hi-tech weapon called Icarus ( reminding of a smaller version in DAF ). During his visit, the Aston gets an ice run-out to remind us of earlier car chases like in GF's DB5. Ultimately the plot will lead to an end explosive confrontation back in Korea where it all began.
Watch out for yet another cameo from Bond producer Michael G. Wilson ( he is a frustrated actor ) as a US Army General. Due to the anniversary there are many reminders of earlier missions inserted by director Lee Tamahori who keeps the action moving at a nice pace using some slo & fast mo-shots to add a touch of style to the movie.
The cast includes regulars Samantha Bond as Moneypenny & Colin Salmon as Robinson who both take part in some virtual reality - shades of tv's Star Trek: TNG. Brosnan matures as Bond with each movie, the sassy Berry packs a punch and swaggers well in her Dr No/Andress bikini homage. Overall an enjoyable way to celebrate the famous spy's movie birthday.
Now you may notice that I have purchased the DVD special edition of the movie, this is my first excursion into the world of 007 on DVD. It has 2 discs, the first one with gun-posing Brosnan on label houses the widescreen movie with additional commentaries from a laid-back, funny Brosnan & Pike [?] or director Tamahori & producer Wilson plus a version with trivia captions added and short docu-features during the movie. Disc 2 with Berry on label has many features about the movie, my favourite called Ministry of Propaganda includes movie/tv trailers & tv spots [ sounds familiar ? ], Madge's pop video & making of and a look at the computer game Nightfire with making of and trailer.
There is also an 'Easter Egg' among the photo section called Hi Jinx! which shows 3 camera angles of Berry leaving the sea. A must for Bond fans !